When it comes to studying, it is not how long you study for but the quality of your study time!
Study habits and the ability to retain information comes with the willingness to try new study tips and understand what we need as an individual to succeed at studying and taking exams.
Many students get into the bad habit of trying to cram for exams the night before, only to show up for the tests feeling exhausted and overwhelmed—with very little information they reviewed the night before actually retained in their memory.
But not to fear, we have collected some top tips from experts on how you can best retain information when you are studying!
1. Reading is not enough
For many of us who do not have a photographic memory, reading text alone is often not enough. Some of us need to re-read the material over and over to retain it. However, many people find that taking notes, actively highlighting sections, and creating their own reading guides from the material is a great way to retain the information! So you might not be reading as fast, but you will be retaining the information much better.
2. Take breaks frequently
Seriously, there is only so much information our brains can take before they simply can not absorb any additional information! That is why it is important to allow yourself to take breaks from studying. For example, spending fifteen to twenty minutes studying followed by a ten-minute break allows your brain time to actually retain information rather than getting overloaded and forgetting it all! Taking breaks is one of the most important study tips you can implement!
3. You don’t have to learn it all in one day
Create a study schedule for yourself so you only have to learn certain segments every day. Not only will it seem less overwhelming to absorb and remember the information, but you will be creating building blocks to feel as if you are really a master at the information, rather than scrambling to remember some key pieces of information short term.
4. Just because it is quiet does not mean it is better
While many of us need to study in silence, like libraries, to focus there is some benefit for many around having a little bit of noise around us. For example, some studies have shown that listening to classical music while studying actually engages a part of our brain that can absorb the information better! And then there are other people who need to be in a study group to stay on track and talk about the information out loud to remember. So silence is not the only way to retain information and that is completely okay!
5. Get rid of your distractions
Chances are that if you are trying to study while also watching a YouTube video, you will struggle to remember everything! This is why it is important to eliminate distractions, like social media and your phone, while you are trying to intently study. Save the distractions for your breaks and leave the study time you dedicate to solely focusing on the material at hand! You will be surprised by how much more information you can absorb in one sitting without distractions all around you!
6. Try teaching the information to someone else
One of the best ways to retain information and test your understanding of it is by trying to teach someone else about it in your own words! If you remember information in your own unique way, then the chances are you will remember it for much longer! So try teaching the information to your friend, parent or little brother and see how much you really know—chances are you will surprise yourself!
It is possible to retain information in an environment that is best suited for your individual needs! Just don’t save it all to the very last minute!